• 360-298-1939
  • info@fhff.org
  • Nov 3-5

Unbalanced local support for islands film festivals

by Karen Palmer and Lynn Dana­her

Fri­day Har­bor Film Fes­ti­val

The Fri­day Har­bor Film Fes­ti­val needs to thank so many peo­ple who gave their time and ener­gy to this 5th annu­al event! We could not con­tin­ue with­out our won­der­ful and ded­i­cat­ed vol­un­teers, assist­ing us at every lev­el. Plus, the fan­tas­tic venues, their exist­ing staff with a spe­cial shout out to all at the San Juan Com­mu­ni­ty The­atre and our newest venue the Palace Theater’s man­ag­er was a joy to work with and helped us immea­sur­ably. Plus our gen­er­ous spon­sors helped tremen­dous­ly by buy­ing ads in our pro­gram and spon­sor­ing films.

Of course, we could not host our film­mak­ers with­out our lodg­ing spon­sors who gen­er­ous­ly donat­ed accom­mo­da­tions, Fri­day Har­bor Suites, Earth­box, Island Inn, Fri­day Har­bor House, San Juan Prop­er­ty Man­age­ment, Argyle B & B and Fri­day Har­bor Grand.

Our open­ing night gala was made pos­si­ble by many local restau­rants, who pro­vid­ed most of the food; Cheescake Café, Coho, Duck Soup, Felic­i­ta­tions, La Authen­ti­ca, Roche Har­bor, Salty Fox, Spring Street Deli, The Bean, Top’sl and Cynthia’s, who also expert­ly coor­di­nat­ed the gath­er­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion of all the food. The restau­rants the remained open through­out the week­end enjoyed a brisk busi­ness.

A spe­cial thanks to Tom­my Tran­sit and Michele Hall who brought the Hum­ming­bird Café bus from Galiano Island to share ruckus rides through­out town in cel­e­bra­tion to the film “Going Fur­ther.” To the kind­ness shown by San Juan Air­lines to Dylan Thomas who arrived from Kauai wear­ing board shorts and flip-flops, he was loaned a jack­et and giv­en a ride from the air­port.

Sev­er­al Film­mak­ers from across the globe told us that this is the BEST com­mu­ni­ty film fes­ti­val they’ve ever attend­ed, com­par­ing us to Berlin, Toron­to, Sun­dance and Cannes. They loved the amaz­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing selec­tion of films, the venues, the charm­ing town and all the friend­ly vol­un­teers. Our beau­ti­ful loca­tion, our selec­tion of six great venue’s, all with­in easy walk­ing dis­tance, the many restau­rants to select from, plus the flaw­less orga­ni­za­tion of entire event made for a great impres­sion and they all want to return.

After an amaz­ing week­end of acco­lades from all the atten­dees and cal­cu­lat­ing a 13 per­cent increase in atten­dance, (most from out of coun­ty) on Mon­day we attend­ed the San Juan Coun­ty Coun­cil meet­ing where the 2018 Lodg­ing Tax Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee grants were announced. Orcas res­i­dent Rick Hugh­es chairs the LTAC coun­cil. We found out that the Orcas Film Fes­ti­val was to receive $20,000, the full amount they had request­ed or 18 per­cent of their bud­get. The FHFF was to receive only $5,000, we had asked for only 10 per­cent of our bud­get or $12,000. The imbal­ance left us extreme­ly dis­ap­point­ed. We felt a severe lack of fair­ness. The FHFF hosts six venues for a total of 800 seats at any indi­vid­ual screen­ing, the Orcas Film Fes­ti­val only has two venues for a total of 300 seats…very unbal­anced.

If you agree the FHFF deserves to be fund­ed no less than the Orcas Film Fes­ti­val please write and tell your friends to write the SJCC about this unfair dis­crep­an­cy and obvi­ous favoritism.

Send your let­ters to each coun­cil­man as they have the abil­i­ty to award more fair­ly.

Write to rickh@sanjuanco.combillw@sanjuanco.com and jamies@sanjuanco.com.

Thanks to our entire com­mu­ni­ty for your unwa­ver­ing sup­port!

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Melonie

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